Diversity Outreach Continues at Inland Regional Center

Amelia MaldonadoBlog


Did you know that Inland Regional Center has programs designed to reach out to underserved IRC communities? We do! They are the Autism Parent Education Program (APEP) and Fiesta Familiar. Before we talk about the programs themselves, let’s give a little background.

How did Inland Regional Center identify these groups as “underserved” communities? Great question!

Each year, IRC collects information and data on how we spend money on services. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, we identified disparities in the following categories: (1) Consumers with Autism (2) Hispanic Consumers and (3) Consumers whose primary language is Spanish. Research showed that Consumers in these categories are most likely to receive no purchased services.

Equity in service is of the utmost importance to IRC. So, to help minimize these disparities, IRC’s Diversity Outreach Coordinator Lilliana Garnica is hard at work implementing outreach projects. Lilliana acts as the liaison between IRC and our underserved communities. She is the lead on initiatives aimed at celebrating diversity and eliminating disparities, including APEP and Fiesta Familiar.

Fiesta Familiar

Fiesta Familiar is an educational program designed for families of individuals with developmental disabilities. Here is a breakdown of what makes this program so special!

Fiesta Familiar:

  • considers the social, cultural, and linguistic characteristics of IRC families
  • held monthly, made up of 2-3 hour modules
  • taught in English and Spanish in a supportive environment
  • topics include an explanation of IRC services and how to access them, the Individual Program Plan (IPP) process, and more

Autism Parent Education Program (APEP)

APEP is a program that helps give parents a deeper understanding of Autism while assisting them in determining which services may be beneficial to their child.  Here’s what you should know about this unique program!


  • is a 16-hour course taught in four-hour sessions
  • taught in English and Spanish in a parent-friendly environment
  • session topics: “All About Autism,” Behaviors, Socialization, Communication
  • parents also learn advocacy and how to maintain records

Trainings and Findings

Successful sessions have been held in Rialto, Riverside, and Victorville with additional training planned for 2018. Parents and families are receiving valuable information about regional center, services, and advocacy. But the education is not one-sided. IRC is asking parents who attend these trainings to take surveys about their experience. Here is what we are learning.

IRC parents:

  • are seeking more tools they can apply at home
  • are interested in ABA, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and respite
  • feel more services are needed for transitioning their children from school into adulthood/employment, etc.
  • feel as though they have a strong network of family and friends

Additionally, parents have reported that after attending training they:

  • feel more confident being with their child in public
  • understanding the importance of written documentation
    • asking for records in writing from service providers, school

Upcoming APEP Sessions


  • San Bernardino – Spanish
    • January 16, 18, 23, and 25
  •  Moreno Valley – Spanish
    • February 6, 8, 13, and 15
  • Rialto – English
    • April 10, 12, 17, and 19
  • Palm Desert – English
    • April 28; May 5, 12, and 19


Families interested in attending should contact their IRC Service Coordinator to help them register!

For general information on APEP or Fiesta Familiar, contact our Diversity Outreach Coordinator Lilliana Garnica at lgarnica@inlandrc.org.

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Amelia Maldonado

Amelia is IRC's Community Relations Specialist and an expert on all things IRC. You will frequently find her typing away on her laptop, creating social media/web content, agency publications, and more. Outside of work her passions include smooshy face dogs, fitness, and roller derby!

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